SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
(Note: The following report on WWE Monday Night Raw was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…)
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 15, 2011
SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-A series of freeze-frames from big events at Summerslam recapped the finish of the WWE Title match.
-Then pryo blasted and Triple H walked out as Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross introduced the show. Triple H walked into the ring and began by saying a lot of people are upset with how things went down last night. He apologized to the WWE Universe and John Cena. “I made a mistake; no excuses,” he said. Cena’s foot was clearly on the bottom rope when he counted to three. He said he will look Cena in the eye later and apologize for his mistake. He said he had no knowledge that his friend Kevin Nash was going to jump the rail and attack C.M. Punk. He said he did give him free tickets. He said he hasn’t spoken to him, but he did invite him to come to Raw to explain himself. He said Nash said he’d be at Raw as long as he could speak the truth. He shifted to Alberto Del Rio cashing in Money in the Bank. He said that’s how Money in the Bank works. He said he promised fans that one WWE Champion would walk into San Diego tonight, and that person is Del Rio. He threw to the stage where Del Rio walked out to his music.
WK Reax: Good stage-setting promo that didn’t belabor any points just to fill TV time. He definitely hooked people who are curious about Kevin Nash’s involvement by saying he’d be on Raw later to speak the truth. Will Nash try to hop on the C.M. Punk bandwagon with a scripted pseudo-shoot promo later? Will he align with Punk on-air? Will he be revealed to be the mystery G.M.?
-Del Rio entered the ring with a wide smile. He said it wasn’t his intention to cash in at Summerslam, but sometimes destiny takes the reins. He said after what Kevin Nash did, he couldn’t resist. He said as the champion of the fans, he wants to represent every one of them with respect, with honesty, with passion. Some fans began chanting “619, 619.” He said he will be in the lobby later signing autographs for them and take pictures with all of their kids. He said that’s the type of champion he will be. He said he was thrilled to be defending the WWE Title later against Rey Mysterio because he loves Mysterio. He added, “I love beating Rey Mysterio.” He took some more digs at Rey and called him a “little chihuahua.” Lawler said he thinks Del Rio was full of hot air, and he said he feels Triple H was also full of hot air earlier.
WK Reax: Nice opening promo from Del Rio, as smarmy and full of false sincerity as always. He’s a heel that a big percentage of WWE fans will pay to boo and hope to see get beat up.
(1) R-TRUTH vs. JOHN MORRISON
-Morrison came out to remixed version of his entrance song. They aired an inset promo with Morrison during his ring entrance. He said he’s going to give all the Little Jimmys out there something to cheer about. He said he’ll take Truth down on his terms in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Lawler said he’s been waiting months to see a healthy Morrison get his hands on Truth. Morrison dove onto Truth on the floor at 2:00 and scored a two count. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
Ross is doing much more play-by-play this week on Raw, perhaps a give-back for excluding him from the PPV last night. The wrestlers brawled at ringside after the break. Morrison hit a flying knee into the chin of Truth as he sat in an announcer chair at ringside and gained the three count. Cole noted that Truth dominated almost the entire match, yet Morrison pulled it out in the end.
WINNER: Morrison in 11:00. (*1/2)
[Q3] -They showed Punk arriving at the arena. Ross said he probably hasn’t even heard Nash will speak later tonight. Punk looked upset.
-A commercial hyped that Orton returns to Smackdown on Friday as the new World Champion. That was the hook. [c]
-Ross hyped the Del Rio title defense against Rey Mysterio later.
-The Miz walked out and said he has been asked by someone to hello to someone in the audience. That person is Jared from Subway. He said he can do Jared’s job better than Jared. He took his sandwich and made a pitch for the sandwich. He then got in Jared’s face and said it’s better than anything he’s ever done. He told Subway executives that the only reason over-crisp tender sandwiches are trending is because of him because he is the star of Raw. He said he will be a champion again because “I am Miz and I am awesome.” Cole said that’s one food J.R. will turn down because it’s not fried. Ross said he loves Subway. Miz began eating the sandwich in the ring.
-They cut to a limo arriving. Out stepped Nash wearing a tight t-shirt and sporting his jet-black head of hair and beard. The camera did the Andre shot where the cameraman is way lower than usual to accentuate his height.
-A commercial aired for the “Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century” DVD. [c]
-They showed country musician Trace Adkins in the front row.
(2) EVE TORES & KELLY KELLY vs. NIKKI & BRI BELLA
WINNERS: Eve & Kelly in 2:00 when Eve hit a moonsault.
-Afterward, the Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya) walked onto the stage and applauded in a threatening way as Kelly and Eve celebrated.
-A replay aired of Nash giving the Jackknife to Punk at Summerslam. Cole said he’s on his way to the ring. [c]
-Kevin Nash walked out without any entrance music. Cole said Nash is 6-11, 315 pounds and the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the 1990s. Ross said he’s known him for 20 years and he’s very outspoken, so this should be very interesting.
Nash said: “First off, I’d like to thank my friend, Triple H, for giving the chance to come here tonight and explain last night’s actions.” He said he and Triple H have been close friends for almost 20 years. He said he’s also the godfather of his son. He said last night he asked Triple H if he could attend Summerslam. He sent him some tickets and left them in Will Call. He said he was watching and right before the main event he got a text. The crowd began the “What?!” thing. Nash paused. He said the text read: “Hey, big man, could you do me a favor. No matter what happens in the main event, stick the winner for me.” He said when a friend asks him to do something, I do it. He said it had been a long time since he had been in the ring (two days) and he missed it. He said the Royal Rumble gave him a thrill he’ll never forget. He said what he did at the Rumble was business, pure and simple. He said he got to the building and Triple H said he knows nothing about this. He said, “I think we need to get on the same page, buddy. That’s it, just business.”
WK REAX: He was very low-key here, perhaps even a little nervous being back on the giant Raw stage with the biggest promo he’s given in about ten years.
Punk’s music then played and out walked Punk. He asked Nash if he really believes he’s supposed to believe that “load of crap.” He asked if Triple H asked him to jump off a bridge, would he, “because I think that would be good for business.” The crowd loudly chanted, “C.M. Punk, C.M. Punk.” Punk said he always had a sneaking suspicion that Hunter doesn’t know what’s good for business and he always heard that Nash doesn’t, either. He said this is now proof that he has “no idea what’s good business.” Nash raised the mic again. “This is the first time you and I have spoke, and let me tell you something, you need to watch your mouth,” he said. Punk said: “I need to watch my mouth? You need to watch the show. I do and say whatever I want to whomever I please.” Nash said, “Obviously, your world just changed.”
Punk said the story he just told clearly points out that Triple H is a liar. Or maybe Triple H is telling the truth and Nash is the liar. Nash offered to show him the text message. Punk offered to show him the text message his little sister sent him: “OMG, Kevin Nash. WTF. Thought he was dead, LOL.” The crowd laughed. Punk said the funny thing his sister is usually wrong, but here is Nash in living color, only his career is dead. Punk said his being out there doesn’t piss him off, but what he did last night pissed him off. He said Alberto Del Rio isn’t someone he’s upset at because what he did, he did before. He said he picked the right spot. He said what Nash did represents Triple H as the new COO, and he’s clearly bringing his cronies back. Nash said all Triple H has done is shook things up around here. Punk said he’s the one who shook things up. Nash called him “a little indy-rific wanna be.” He said Punk has been around five years and been in two main events. He asked how many days he’s held the belt, three times but 25 days. Punk said he called Eddie Guerrero a vanilla midget. He asked what he knows about main event talent. He said it’s 2011, not 1994. Nash said if he wants to go to 1996, he changed the business with Scott Hall and made sure that everybody, including guys like him, got guaranteed money, “yeah, thank you, that’s what you should be saying.” He told him to shut his mouth and say “thank you, Mr. Nash.”
Nash said if this is where the business is now, where a guy who looks like a short-order cook from Waffle House is the champion, well, “take a shower, hit the weights, get a clue.” Punk said he likes Waffle House. Punk said Nash put his hands on him and he shouldn’t do that. Punk said he’d rather walk into the company as C.M. Punk and leave as C.M. Punk rather than enter as Oz or Vinnie Vegas and leave as “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel. He said enough with the snarky comments, let’s fight. Five security guards walked up and blocked Punk’s path. Punk said obviously Triple H deemed Nash untouchable. He said he certainly didn’t call on security to stop him from getting to the ring. Punk said maybe he’ll go find out from the COO himself. Nash waved bye.
Cole said that whole exchange confused him even more. Lawler said he’s sad to see it end, he was loving it. Ross said Nash didn’t sound truthful “and that’s not the Kevin Nash I know.” He said something is wrong here.
WK REAX: Since Triple H denies sending the text message, does that mean perhaps Stephanie McMahon borrowed his phone and sent Nash a text without his knowledge? Is Steph the heel here working covertly against her husband? Will this be a battle between Hunter and Steph for power of WWE, with Laurinaitis on Steph’s side? As for the exchange, I don’t think it does WWE any good to draw attention to Punk’s lack of size relative to most WWE main eventers, although ultimately fans don’t really care as long the wrestler is charismatic and seems tough, as in he wrestles with credibility like he’s in a fight and not just a performance. That’s what made Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Punk win over fans. [c]
-Backstage Nash barged into Triple H’s office, yelling “Hunter!” as he did it. John Laurinaitis walked up to Nash and said if he’s looking for Triple H, he went to see C.M. Punk. Nash asked, “Can you believe the nerve of that kid?” Laurinaitis said the way he spoke to him last night and to Nash tonight is totally unacceptable. Laurinaitis said there’s something important he’d like to talk to Nash about. He asked for somewhere more private.
WK REAX: Looks to me like Laurinaitis is about to clue in Nash that Steph is pulling the strings behind Hunter’s back. Just guessing based on the clues here.
-They aired a highlight from last week’s Raw including Alex Riley telling Vickie Guerrero that her breath smells like someone took a dump in it. Really, a week later they think that was a good line worth replaying?
(3) ALEX RILEY vs. JACK SWAGGER
Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler were at the announce table bickering as Riley made his ring entrance. Ziggler said he wins the match and she shouldn’t get involved. Vickie insisted he needs her. She told him to be careful what he wishes for. Cole asked Ziggler if he thinks he’d be U.S. Champion without Vickie. Ziggler said he sees what Cole is trying to do. Ziggler said he acts, dresses, and plays like a champion every night, so he would be champion no matter what. Vickie said she compliments him. He said yes, like garnish on a steak. Lawler took a dig at Vickie’s weight. Ziggler fired back, “Vickie Guerrero is in better shape than you, King. She’s in the second best shape of everyone at this desk.” Right on. Lawler said, “Vickie is in shape, pear shape.” Ross said there was a match in the ring. Ziggler said, “Vickie, your bad breath shouldn’t be an issue in my matches.” Vickie said, “How would you know, you never kiss me, ever.” Ziggler said he had a cold last week. He also pointed out he kissed her hand when he got off the plane last week.
The insults kept flying. Ziggler said Cole may try to create friction, but he and Vickie have a bond and she knows her role. Lawler said, “Role!” Ziggler said he knows he gets excited when he hears the word “roll.” Lawler said when he thinks of those two, he thinks of pigs in a blanket. Cole and Lawler laughed uproariously. Ziggler said when he sits next to Ross, he thinks of pigs in a blanket also. “No offense, J.R.,” Ziggler said. “I said no offense, so it should be fine.” Vickie took off Ross’s hat and wore it while parading around ringside. Ross said, “Maybe it’s the loaded hat gimmick.” She climbed onto the ring apron and put her hat on the referee’s head. He argued with her and insisted she get ofdf the ring apron. Swagger hit Riley from behind as he was distracted by Vickie. He struggled to execute the gut-wrench suplex, but eventually powered his way through the move for the win. That was rough looking, but in a way impressive that Swagger was able to do the move without any momentum. That was power.
After the match Ziggler stomped on Ross’s hat. Ross probably wasn’t in on that since Vince McMahon loves to mess with J.R. with orders from behind the scenes. Ross tried to fix the hat.
WINNER: Swagger in 5:00.
WK REAX: Zigger and Vickie were hilarious. That was the best Ziggler has been on the mic to date. [c]
-Backstage Swagger thanked Vickie for what she did for him. Vickie started talking about Dolph. Swagger said she has nothing to prove to Ziggler. Swagger said Ziggler would be nothing without her. He also said she looks tremendous. He said she’s a great manager. He talked about the great managers of the past. He said they all had multiple clientele. He suggested she expand her roster to include him. She seemed to contemplate the suggestion.
WK REAX: I like the idea of Vickie expanding her role as a manager, first and foremost. She’s great in the heel manager role both on the mic and at ringside. She gets fans riled up effectively without detracting from her wrestler. I also really like the idea of Swagger entering the picture as that’s a way for Ziggler and Swagger to do something relevant and build their characters for when a top heel spot eventually opens up. Swagger and Ziggler are both potentially future PPV main event regulars in coming years, so having them play off of each other with Vickie in the mix could be a lot of fun and a good way for their characters to grow. [c]
-A video package aired on Summerslam Fan Axxess including the anti-bulling campaign aspect of the event including Rey Mysterio speaking about his work with kids. Then they cut to clips of various celebrities talking about having a great time at the “B A Star” event.
-Punk walked up to Stephanie McMahon backstage. She told him that she’s very sorry for how he lost the title last night. “Technically, you never really won since John Cena’s foot was on the rope, but don’t worry, it’ll be alright. In the end, people always get what they deserve.” She shot him a look and walked away. Punk stared at her as she walked out of the room.
(4) DAVID OTUNGA & MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY vs. KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE
The announcers talked about the Nash conspiracy and Vickie expanding her roster. Cole found time to make fun of Ross’s accent or pronunciation. I assume that came from Vince on headsets backstage. Lawler said he wants Otunga & McGillicutty to “do something big, do something special, really excite people.” Cole said, “What do you mean? They’re the champions.” Lawler said, “It’s like the bland leading the bland.” Is that also fed to Lawler from McMahon? Lawler said he’d like to see them put their tag titles on the line more often. Cole kept mocking Ross’s accent. He insisted Ross to not get hot. He said it’s great when Ross Tweets because there’s no twang in those. Cole asked Ross if he ever knew Hillbilly Jim, and he thought that was a really funny question.
WINNERS: Bourne & Kingston when Bourne finished McGillcutty with Air Bourne in 5:00. [c]
(5) ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. REY MYSTERIO — WWE Championship Match
Justin Roberts introduced Ricardo Rodrigues who introduced Del Rio. Del Rio drove out in a Ferrari worth 200K according to Cole. There was a seat cover on the drive’s seat. Apparently the car dealership didn’t want Del Rio’s sweat all over the car seat. They cut to a break at 2:00. [c]
Lawler went back to the 1960s with a Ricky Ricardo (“I Love Lucy”) reference and the 1970s with Ricardo Montalban (“Fantasy Island”) reference when purposefully calling Del Rio’s ring announcer by the wrong Hispanic name.
Cole reset the big happenings on the show and said they’ve had more questions than answers during the two hours. They went into some near falls and big moves that popped the San Diego crowd, strongly in favor of Rey throughout. Rey escaped Del Rio’s attempt at his finisher and then nailed the 619. As the crowd went berserk, Rey dove off the top rope, but Del Rio lifted his knees. He then covered Rey and got the pin, taking the wind out of the sails of the fans.
WINNER: Del Rio in 12:00.
-Del Rio attacked Rey’s arm afterward, yanking it over the edge of the ring apron and then putting on his cross armbreaker signature hold. John Cena ran out for the save in his first appearance of the show. The crowd popped big.
-Cena said he’s coming off of one hell of a weekend. He said anyone who saw Summerslam knows there are a bunch of reasons he could be pissed off. He said he’s pissed off at a scumbag like Del Rio, not Triple H. He said after two guys – Cena and Punk – left everything in the ring to give every bit of integrity to that WWE Championship, what does he do? He goes into business for himself and he walks around like he’s some type of champion. He said he is not a champion, he is a target. He said that golden destiny that he talks about, he’s going to realize that holding onto that makes every single person he knows his enemy. He said Punk earned the right to be called champion, but Del Rio cashed in a briefcase and got lucky. (Hey, he earned that briefcase.) He said he will eventually have to defend that title, and if it’s against him, he won’t be so lucky. He said he will find out that his destiny is John Cena whipping your ass. Cena leaned over to see how Rey was doing, as Rey was being tended to on the floor.
WK REAX: Cena is at his best when he’s cutting that type of straight-forward promo, speaking from the foundation of defending a title that means the world to him with honor and despising those who dishonor it. No lame jokes or one-liners. Just a straight-up good promo.
FINAL THOUGHT: Good show. A lot of moving parts and mysteries developing, but they set the stage for Del Rio vs. Cena at the end, something is going on with Nash obviously, and Nash, Steph, and Hunter fit in somewhere. They set up Rey for time off to heal up.